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Saturday, November 21, 2009

What Is - or What's Not - Art?

What's - or What's Not - Art ?

A few weeks back I came up behind this small commercial truck while driving on Sunset Blvd. in Brentwood here in Los Angeles.

I was impressed with the rolling artwork and managed to catch a few shots through the front window of my car.

Like the pink Mercedes in a recent post (see below) I wouldn't call this artwork my style. But it's still well done.

My kids friends' introduced them to a homeschooler's YouTube video: "What's Art?" The YouTube video is sort of silly - something that only 10-12 year old would love - but brought up a good question: "what is art?"

According to Art is form and content.

Form means (1) the elements of art, (2) the principles of design and (3) the actual, physical materials that the artist has used. Form is concrete and fairly easily described - no matter which piece of art is under scrutiny.

Content gets a little more tricky. "Content" is idea-based and means (1) what the artist meant to portray, (2) what the artist actually did portray and (3) how we react, as individuals, to both the intended and actual messages.

What isn't art? Here's another, similar sized truck a few miles away. It has about as much "form" and "content" as a dog marking out it's territory. Sorry. But it's really depressing, especially for people who have to deal with this form of domestic abuse in their neighborhoods on a regular basis.

Two different trucks. Two different outcomes. Something creative as opposed to something destructive. As stated elsewhere, Los Angeles is a city of contrasts. Rolling art alongside defacing or destruction of personal - or public - property.

As a side note, this past summer our family spent six weeks in Chicago. One thing that struck me: where was the tagging? Where was the graffiti? Chicago successfully banned all aerosol spray paint several years ago, and as a result has virtually no graffiti anywhere.

Wonder how that would work out in Los Angeles? Probably pretty well.


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